Sneek Peek - finalizing the draft copy

Found one! that doesn't spoil if I make a few strategic blackouts to the existing text!

Please show respect - this excerpt of near final draft is copyright by the author - you are asked not to remove or disseminate the contents from the site.

The person was an idiot, who voluntarily brought hurt flesh or bruised pride, or rough, unkempt dress into the domicile of Dawr s'Brydion. Talvish knew as much; had watched seasoned fighting men lashed to boy's tears by the old woman's caustic wisdom. Yet as the party of four bound for audience passed through her wrought-iron gate, his nerve stayed resolute. He unstrapped his steel helm. Paused in the darkening, windy twilight, and riffled his dirt-rimmed fingers through rumpled blond hair. That laughable gesture of grooming complete, he tapped on the door to the spartan quarters that housed Bransian's granddam

(—phrase and subsequent paragraph censored by authorial fiat, to prevent spoiler—).

Desperaton failed to invoke the least shred of the Fatemaster's mercy. The pretty carved door with its paned, amber glass already swung wide to admit them.

"Dawr doesn't nurse wounds," Mearn s'Brydion warned, before words of greeting or welcome.

Poised in the lit entry, his avid regard had already fixed on the wrapped shard of ice Fionn Areth held pressed to his jaw.

"You don't say!" Fionn Areth mumbled past the stopgap remedy. "The old besom expects us to be decked out like bawds, in gewgaws and fripperies for dancing?"

"Ah! did we neglect the engraved invitation?" Mearn flourished the neat, feathered cap on his head. "So sorry, stripling. You have learned to read?"

Mearn flitted aside before a victimized hamfist could swipe at him. Jewels flared under the single, sconced candle that burned on the lower landing: in fact, the youngest brother s'Brydion was groomed for the ballroom, silk-shod and clad in a red velvet doublet. The facing was edged with black ribbon and fire opal studs. By contrast, his dark hose and white shirt were both plain, the lace cuffs that should accent such finery spared from the risk of snags on his warfaring calluses.

At total ease in his mannered dress, Mearn snagged the candle from its stone niche. He struck off up the stairway, still chattering in cool sympathy to Fionn Areth. "By Dawr's parlor creed, any injury gotten by fighting amounts to a stupid mistake. 'Lick your own hurts, and learn how to think so that next time, you watch where you step!' She said that to Parrien once, when he crawled in bawling and expected her help to dry his snotty tears during boyhood."

Talvish snorted. "You refer to the time he broke both his hands, picking brawls with the blacksmith's apprentice?"

"My brother was always a bullying ox," Mearn agreed. To the Araethurian, he resumed, "Dawr refused to call her private physician. She left the lame duck to drive himself across town to seek ease at the garrison bonesetter's. An awkward predicament, since no one but me dared her wrath to help harness the cart horse." Arrived at the stair head, Mearn never paused, but pushed open another carved door. "I was four." Across the tight-shuttered, unlighted anteroom, he resumed his grim reminiscence. "The blighted chestnut cob mashed my finger, inept as I was with the bit. I chose to soak the crushed knuckle in the horse trough, then arranged to fall in, headfirst."

He paused and glanced backward. "That bit was to hide the fact I was crying." His smile was a crocodile's in the fitful gleam of the candle. "Not much you can do for that bruising you've earned. The raw beef's all been smoked into jerky." As he finished, his narrow hand turned the knob and flung open the last double panel.

"You've arrived," he declared. "There's the dowager's sitting room. You're to go in directly and may Dharkaron Avenger himself show you lot the swift spear of his mercy."

originally posted by Leonie

Lovely, lovely, lovely - a nice little insight into the s'Brydion childhood, Dame Dawr and Mearn's personality.

And that tantalising missing bit at the beginning - can't wait to find out why they're all knocking on Dame Dawr's door - and how she and Fionn Areth get along :smiley:

Oh how much I am looking forward to this book - I so want to find out if any of my pet theories are vindicated!


originally posted by Leonie

And it appears that I am FIRST to read it - a small consolation for recovering from knee surgery - normally I'd be at work now.

Leonie (gloating, gleefully)

originally posted by Hunter

Fionn Areth fronted to the s'Brydions again!!! Some people are just born lucky…

At least it sounds like he was better dressed this time…

originally posted by starstorm

Too fun! I do love Mearn… especially when he's being snide to someone who deserves it :smiley:

I have my suspicions about who might have hit Fionn, as well, wondering if it wasn't a certain caithdein who was headed in the direction of Alestron last time we saw her. Poor guy, he just really *asks* for it usually!

Leonie, I hope your knee heals quickly!


originally posted by Eve Marangon

Fantastic! Thank you so much Janny. I can't wait to see what part Fionn Areth and the s'Brydion have to play in the next book.

I can't believe the s'Brydion are still ignoring Arithon by couping up on home ground though! Pig-headed in the teeth of cold facts - you have to love 'em though…

originally posted by Winter

In the last sneak peak Fionn Areth was left under a bench in the midst of a tavern brawl. I wonder if this scene follows not too long after the last.

originally posted by Konran

Whee! I made my NaNo word count for the day and rewarded myself by a bit of time on the internet – and what a reward it turned out to be! A preview snippet! *rejoices* Hmm, this brings up some interesting new questions though… *speculation gears get to turning…*

originally posted by Hannah Lee

It seems like 3 of the teasers we've gotten have been related. We have the tavern brawl with Tal and Fionn Areth and Dakar, where (as Winter points out) FA is passed out under the bench in the middle of the fray. We have this one with Talvish and Mearn and FA–who is already scraped up. Then we had the teaser with Mearn and Talvish which makes reference to a trip to Dame Dawr's and THEN a wrecked taven. Janny writes: "Off duty, but still armed since his side trip to Dame Dawr's that had ended inside a wrecked tavern".

So which order do these scenes occur in? The injuries FA sports in the teaser above could very well be unrelated, since he is an ornery bumpkin who offends most people he meets. But if he received the injury, and then they make the trip to Dawr's above, and then go to the tavern for the brawl and then Mearn reluctantly makes a visit to the citadel where, for some unknown reason, Talvish says he will need "a friend" as back-up.

Well, regardless, things are happening at Alestron for sure.

I am so tickled that FA actually uses the word "gewgaws". If I've ever read another author use that word I'll eat my hat.

originally posted by motley

Yowch… Dame Dawr's a tough old besom.

originally posted by Laneth Shadow-Walker

Hannah, writing a challenge like that on an Author's personal pages…*tsk tsk*

I'm fairly sure that someone is going to twig and remember a passage from some obscure novel they read back in the 80's…

I hope for ye and your hat's sake that this doesn't happen.

originally posted by fhcbandmom

Janny - thanks for the "sneak peak". I don't get to the site often, but wanted to thank you for the response to my earlier e-mail request for a preview!

originally posted by HJ

Janny, thank you for this preview. As enjoyable as it is, it only serves to stir me up into a near uncontrollable paroxysm of anticipation, along with many others.

I am mostly content to wait for publication but I think it's VERY MEAN OF YOU to tease all us desperate readers in this way.

If you have any more snippets you'd like to tease us with, I'll be overjoyed to complain about them!!!

originally posted by Neil

The east/south-east clans seem to have centre stage in this book.

From Fugitive Prince, I guess Cattrick & co. may come back in there somewhere but surely the s'brydians won't try to meet force with force?

Lysaer being cast out of the compact seems to have had no effect so far? Or was he more exposed to necromancy being "outcast"?

I'm guess Fionn's birth prophesy comes to completion: Who will "betray" Arithon?

Koriani v Arithon ding ding round 5…

The free wraiths are not far away now, no? Will they wait until the 4th arc to arrive?